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Advanced biofuels ‘most economically feasible’

22 May 2018

Advanced biofuels may represent the most economically feasible zero-emission alternative for the shipping industry, says a joint report produced by Lloyd’s Register Group and University Maritime Advisory Services.

The report Zero Emission Vessels – What needs to be done? Was prepared for Sustainable Shipping Initiative members to allow the group to understand technology options that represent viable routes towards zero-emission vessels.

“The fact that biofuels can be used in a way that very closely mirrors current technology, i.e. through internal combustion, means that associated additional costs are kept to a minimum of the fuel price itself,” it explains.

“Under the scenarios projected in this study, these costs are within the realm of acceptability for many in the industry.

“Biofuels, however, may not be the answer to the question of decarbonisation, due to two important, and coupled, considerations – sustainability and availability.”

According to the study, advanced (e.g. non-food derived), sustainability-certified biofuels will be required if production in the quantities needed as a full replacement shipping fuel is not to clash with other more basic societal objectives such as production of food for a growing population or need for biofuels for other energy consumers.

“Whether this results in a finite and partial supply taking a share of overall shipping energy sources, or practical limits on production, this may mean prices rise above the prices used in this paper and to the point where other options (e.g. hydrogen) become more competitive,” it says.

“Further work would be useful to understand the potential pricing dynamics.”

Photo credit: Zero Emission Vessels – What needs to be done?
Published: 23 May, 2018

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